Components of State Anti-Bullying Laws and Regulations
|District policy requirement||Yes|
|Reporting and investigations||Yes|
|Communication of policy||Yes|
|Safeguards and supports||No|
|Review and update of local policies||Yes|
Which Iowa state laws and regulations cover bullying?
- Iowa Code §280.12. School improvement advisory committee
- Iowa Code §280.28. Harassment and bullying prohibited—policy—immunity
- Iowa Code §282.18. Open enrollment
- Iowa Code §708.10. Hazing
- Iowa Administrative Code 281-12.3(13). Policy declaring harassment and bullying against state and school policy
- Iowa Administrative Code 281-12.8(256). Accountability for student achievement
- Iowa Administrative Code 281-17.8(282). Requirements applicable to parents/guardians and students
- Iowa Administrative Code 282-24.3(272). Prekindergarten through grade 12 paraeducator generalist certificate
How are bullying and cyberbullying defined in Iowa anti-bullying laws and regulations?
Iowa anti-bullying laws include the following definitions of harassment and bullying:
“Harassment” and “bullying” shall be construed to mean any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student and which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:
(1) Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property;
(2) Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health;
(3) Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s academic performance; and
(4) Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
Iowa Code § 280.28 (2007)
Do Iowa anti-bullying laws and regulations cover cyberbullying that occurs off-campus?
No. Iowa anti-bullying laws do not cover off-campus conduct.
What are the policy requirements for schools to prevent and respond to bullying behavior?
Iowa school districts must adopt a policy declaring harassment and bullying in schools as against state and school policy. School district policies must contain key policy and procedural elements, including, but not limited to:
- Statements declaring harassment and bullying to be against state and school policy and statements of scope indicating where and when the policy applies;
- Prohibitions against reprisal, retaliation, or false accusation;
- Definitions of harassment and bullying that conform to definitions in state law;
- Descriptions of the type of behavior expected from school employees, volunteers, parents or guardians, and students relative to prevention measures, reporting, and investigation;
- Disciplinary consequences and remedial actions for violation of the policy;
- Procedures for reporting and investigation, including designation of the individual responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented and the individual responsible for receiving reports; and
- Statements regarding how the policy will be publicized within the district.
Iowa anti-bullying laws require districts to integrate anti-harassment and anti-bullying polices into comprehensive school improvement plans and require districts to develop and maintain a system to collect harassment and bullying incidence data.
Do Iowa anti-bullying laws and regulations include protections for specific groups?
Yes. Iowa anti-bullying laws prohibit harassment and bullying based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student, including, but not limited to, age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status.
Iowa schools that receive federal funding are required by federal law to address discrimination based on certain personal characteristics. Find out when bullying may be a civil rights violation.
Do Iowa anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to implement bullying prevention programs or strategies?
Yes. Iowa school districts are encouraged to establish programs designed to eliminate harassment and bullying in schools, including developing a process to provide school employees, volunteers, and students with the skills and knowledge to help reduce incidents of harassment and bullying.
Do Iowa anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to train teachers and other school staff on how to respond to bullying incidents?
Yes. Iowa school districts are encouraged to establish programs designed to eliminate harassment and bullying in schools, including providing training on anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies to school employees and volunteers who have significant contact with students.
Do Iowa anti-bullying laws and regulations encourage or require districts to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying?
No. Iowa school districts are not required to provide safeguards or mental health supports for students involved with bullying.
Do Iowa anti-bullying laws and regulations involve parents in efforts to address bullying behavior?
Yes. Iowa school districts must establish school improvement advisory committees comprised of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and representatives from the local community. The school improvement advisory committee is responsible for making recommendations to determine district harassment or bullying prevention goals, programs, training, and other initiatives.
For More Information
Visit the Iowa Department of Education’s “Anti-Bullying/Anti-Harassment” webpage and/or view the Iowa state model policy on bullying and harassment.
The key component framework used in the analysis of state laws is based on the review of legislation presented in the “Analysis of State Bullying Laws and Policies – December 2011” (U.S. Department of Education).